Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the world. According to the World Health Organization, 466 million people have disabling hearing loss. Hearing loss can present in all age ranges; however, hearing loss typically affects the aging population.
On average, one in every three people over the age of 65 have hearing loss. Traditional adult onset hearing loss present as a loss of hearing sensitivity and reduced speech understanding, which greatly impacts one’s ability to communicate effectively. Not only does hearing loss negatively impact one’s ability to communicate, but it also can affect one’s psychosocial health. Several significant relationships have been found between hearing loss, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Although these associations are important, the one that is most relevant is the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
When someone has hearing loss, auditory sounds are not being transmitted to the brain properly. This lack of auditory stimulation leads to a cortical restructuring of the brain. This, over time, can reduce one’s ability to discern speech. If someone with hearing loss ignores their hearing and communication difficulties, their ability to differentiate speech sounds also becomes worse. Research has shown that the decrease in one’s word understanding ability is correlated to cognitive decline.
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids has been shown to minimize or reduce hearing loss related cognitive decline. Wearing hearing aids can also improve speech understanding (which can lead to increased confidence and social participation) and improve one’s quality of life.
If you believe you or a loved one has hearing loss, but do not wear hearing aids, check out what our current hearing aid users say about how hearing aids have significantly improved their quality of life. If you have questions or would like to schedule a hearing evaluation call (480) 497-0780.